Melanoma is a type of malignant skin cancer that grows in the cells that produce melanin. While melanoma is treatable in its early stages, it can spread to other parts of the body. Young people tend to be at higher risk for most types of melanoma. However, nodular melanoma, the most invasive form of the disease, is most common among seniors. Phoenix live-in care experts have some tips to help your senior loved reduce his or her risk of this dangerous disease.
The most important thing your loved one can do to prevent melanoma and all other types of skin cancer is to protect him or herself from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. Your loved one should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day, not just when he or she is on vacation or spending the day at the beach. UVA and UVB rays are present even on cold, cloudy days. Sunscreen should be used according to directions, applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied every 2 hours, or more often if your loved one is sweating or swimming.
Wear Protective Clothing
In addition to sunscreen, your loved one should wear loose, flowing cotton clothing that will keep him or her cool while keeping his or her skin covered. This includes long sleeves and pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. If possible, your loved one should avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when penetration of harmful rays is at its highest.
Watch for Changes in the Skin
One bad sunburn early in life can double the melanoma risk as a senior. Even if your loved one is vigilant about protecting his or her skin, it’s important for you and other Phoenix in-home caregivers to be aware of his or her skin’s appearance and immediately report any unusual changes to a dermatologist.
Remember the ABCDEs
When examining your loved one’s skin, keep in mind the ABCDEs of malignant melanoma. Be aware of any moles that are Asymmetrical, have an irregular Border, have a strange Color or several different colors, have a Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, or that have Evolved or changed in any way.
Help your loved one reduce his or her risk of melanoma by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of elderly care Phoenix seniors can rely on, and our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one remain healthy and assist with many important tasks. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 602.388.1085 to request a free consultation.